People prefer to live their lives rightly. They try to make everything seem normal. But the man this presentation is devoted to clearly isn`t one of them. In his life truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. His biography is far from perfect, albeit it is interesting. It is hard totell exactly where reality ends and the storytelling begins. He came from the humble beginnings and made people live vicariously through his stories.
This is the story about CharlesMichael Palahniuk, the man whotransformed his wounds into his art.
Born February 21, 1962, Charles spent his early childhood livingout of a mobile home in Burbank, Washington.His paternal grandfather was Ukrainian and immigrated to NewYork from Canada in 1907.His parents, Carol and Fred Palahniuk, separated and divorcedwhen he was fourteen.Chuck and his siblings spent much of their time on their maternalgrandparent’s cattle ranch.In 1980 Charles graduated from Columbia High School inBurbank.The catalyst for his first writing was his fifth grade teacher Mr.Olsen.
“Chuck, you do this really well. And this is much better than setting fires, so keep it up.” Mr. Olsen, 5th grade teacher
After high school, Chuck attended theUniversity of Oregon, graduating with a BAin journalism in 1986. He entered theworkforce as a journalist for a local Portlandnewspaper, but soon grew tired of the job. Hethen gained employment as a dieselmechanic, spending his days repairing trucksand writing technical manuals. It was duringthis time that Palahniuk performedvolunteer work for a homeless shelter;later, he also volunteered at a hospice as anescort; he provided transportation forterminally ill people and brought them tosupport group meetings. He also became amember of the notorious CacophonySociety. The Cacophony Society wasdedicated to experiencing things outside ofthe mainstream and performing large-scalepranks in public places.
Palahniuk began writingfiction in his mid-thirties. At the time hewas attending workshopsfor writers to meet newfriends. Tom Spanbauer,the host, largely inspiredPalahniuks minimalisticwriting style.
Chuck’s first attempt at a novel, If You Lived Here, You’d be Home Already was rejected across the board (although parts were later recycled for usein Fight Club.) Unfazed, Chuck dabbled with even darker material, writing a manuscript called Manifesto, which would go on to become Invisible Monsters. As with If You Lived Here, agents just couldnt embrace the darktone in Chucks work, and while his voice as a writer got some recognition, nobody was willing to take a chance on him.
“Our real discoveriescome from chaos, from going to the place thatlooks wrong and stupid and foolish.” (Invisible Monsters)
That all changed when Chuck "gave up" onthe mainstream and decided to make hisnext manuscript even darker. Theexperience of working in terminally illhospice and becoming a member of theCacophony Society was the basis. FightClub came into existence. After initiallypublishing it as a short story (which wouldbecome chapter 6 of the novel) in the 1995compilation, Pursuit of Happiness,Palahniuk expanded it into a full novel,which—contrary to his expectations—thepublisher was willing to publish. But itwasnt until 20th Century Fox took noticethat Chuck nabbed an agent in EdwardHibbert (best known as Gil Chesterton, thefood critic on Frasier,) who would go on tobroker the deal for Fight Club the movie.
Due to this success, Chuck was given free reign, creatively.
Chuck’s work has always been infused withpersonal experience, and his next novel, Lullaby,was no exception. Chuck creditswriting Lullaby with helping him cope with thetragic death of his father.The year 1999 brought a series of greatpersonal tragedies to Palahniuks life. At thattime, his father, Fred Palahniuk, had starteddating a woman named Donna Fontaine. He mether trough a personal ad soon after her formerboyfriend, Dale Shackleford, had beenimprisoned for sexual abuse. Shackleford hadvowed to kill Fontaine as soon as he wasreleased from prison. After his release,Shackleford followed Fontaine and the seniorPalahniuk to Fontaines home after they hadgone out for a date. Shackleford then shot themboth and dragged their bodies into Fontainescabin home, which he then set afire. That manwas found guilty and sentenced to death in2001.
“Thats why I write,because life neverworks except inretrospect. You cantcontrol life, at least youcan control yourversion.” (Stranger Than Fiction)
Another book, based on personal experience, wasreleased in 2011. Chuck wrote Damned while hismother was dying of cancer. She was the prototypeof the main character, 13-year-old girl Madisonwho is in Hell. “On her medication my motherbecame much more herself as a child; a child Inever would have known. I was playing in effectthe role of parent. It was a terrible time andperhaps thats why Madisons such a glib person.Shes covering up horrible circumstances andpain”-says Chuck. He tried to express somehow hisgrief at having then lost both of his parents. Thatwould not make a very entertaining or particularlyfunny book, that`s why he inverted the situationand made it this very plucky dead child, who couldmourn her parents while they were still on Earth –but still she could miss them.
“All the effort in the world wontmatter if youre not inspired.” (Diary) Charles Palahniuk managed to find his inspiration in his misery. The art cured him. And I believe that his way can help anybody. Do you?“We all die. The goal isnt to liveforever, the goal is to createsomething that will.” (Diary)
Made by Maria Alexandrova, RIMO-201 Webliography • http://chuckpalahniuk.net/author/bio • http://www.list.co.uk/article/1902-american-literature/ • http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/sep/04/chuck-palahniuk-fight-club- interview • http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/2546.Chuck_Palahniuk?page=3 • http://www.notable-quotes.com/p/palahniuk_chuck.html • http://www.flickr.com/photos/ • http://topics.nytimes.com/topics/reference/timestopics/people/p/chuck_pala hniuk/index.html • http://www.stirrings-still.org/ss22.pdf
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